My favorite things, 46 yeas old.

b-day-bike-1

My favorite things, 46 yeas old:

Chocolate

Caramel Cashew Custard from Kopp’s Frozen Custard

Beer

Coffee

Making applesauce

applesauce w H

Picking berries

raspberries

Cross Country Skiing

skiing family

 

Running

Biking

bike train

Tie Dyeingdye towels blue (2)

Fall and Winter

fall-leaves-nola-mae-henry

Watching my kids play sports (and playing with them).

charlie skateboard  Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

My favorite place, Iola Winter Sport Club

skiing Nola Mae & Henry 2014

 

A few people inspire and motivate me:

Inspiration vs. Motivation:  Jillian Micheals made me realized these are two different things.  I can be inspired by people and their activities but it is motivation that gets me outside exercising and being active.

I am motivated by my triplet sisters who are 18 years younger than me.  All three of them are active and do fun things.  I want to be able to keep up with them in their adventures and do fun things with them.  Wait, maybe not keep up at their speed, maybe just do fun things with them.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 13 end

  • My sister, Kayla, is fit and a fast runner.

IMG_4842

  • My sister, Becca, is an Ironman (TWO TIMES!).

becca-ben-ironman

 

Most importantly, my kids motivate me.  I want to be thinner so I look awesome, but that isn’t what gets my butt going.  My motivator is my kids.   I want to be able to ski, run, bike, hike, play soccer, bowl, and play with them for many years.   I am one of those “older moms” and I am NOT getting any younger.  I will be 60 years old when my last child goes off to college.

Robbie is now a faster skier and runner than me.  I thought I would be  faster than him for a little longer.  Oh well, I think I could out last him in a long distance ski race or running race, right now.  But not for long.

kids-running-biking-1   kids-running-biking-2

 

To celebrate my 46th birthday I decided to do 46 miles. I wanted it to be a birthday triathlon, inspired by Becca’s Ironman.  I have this awesome road bike.

b-day-bike-2

b-day-bike-4-mile-15      b-day-bike-3

 Arrived at Sunset Lake for a swim.  It was so refreshing.

b-day-bike-5-mile-30  b-day-bike-5

 Final miles when I arrived home 48.5 miles in less than four hours.

I decided not to run because I got my 46 miles done and  I needed to have energy to finish the day as the mom of the house (making dinner, driving for cross-country practice and to Point for soccer practice).

I picked raspberries while I waited for the bus to drop off the kids and then had one of my favorite snacks, fresh raspberries with rice pudding.

b-day-snack

My adventures aren’t over with, in November I will participate in Rails to Trails Marathon with my whole family.  This winter I hope to ski more days than I did last year and possibly complete at least one ski marathon.

I would love to hear what motivates you.

What adventures do you have planned for the next year?

What birthday activity will you do for your next birthday?

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The Frugal Sisters’ Half Marathon

I got this sister (one of many) who is very smart, busy, fun to hang out with, and active.  Both of us want to be fit, strong and runners.  We are too cheap to be motivated by an organized race such as a marathon or half marathon.  Our goal for early summer was to run a half marathon, on our own schedule, in our own chosen location, without a ton of people,  and no race fees!

We picked a date – June 4th.  The forecast was calling for high humidity, 80+ degrees and 80%  chance of scattered thunderstorms, so we changed the date to June 5th.  The date was beautiful with a light breeze, with temps in the mid-70s, sunny, and 0% chance of rain.

I was the host for our half marathon.  I picked the location – The Green Circle Trail in Stevens Point, WI.

 

Our last-minute plans included inviting our mom to bike along with us and a picnic lunch at the finish, we each brought food and snacks to share.

frugal sisters selfie a

Inviting our mom to the day worked out fabulous, she carried our water and snacks and took photos.  I wouldn’t have these awesome photos to share if it wasn’t for her!

The route we ran:

We started at Roger’s Park on the Plover River Trail -3.6 miles, crushed granite trail.
Follows the meandering Plover River through woods near the airport.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 1 start

 

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 3 wooded trail

Moses Creek Trail – 2.3 miles, crushed granite trail and boardwalks.
Travels through wet woodlands, sedge meadows, and forested areas for great wildlife viewing.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 4 boardwalk

University Trail – 2.6 miles, crushed granite trail and boardwalks in Reserve, paved road.
Trail through Schmeeckle Reserve, a 280-acre nature reserve on the UW-Stevens Point campus.  Woods, prairie, wetlands, and oak savanna.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 5 medow

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 6 trail

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 8 woods

Brickyard Trail – 1.1 miles, crushed granite trail and sidewalks.
Adjacent to a historic brickyard, this wooded trail winds past frog ponds and a creek.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 9 boardwalk in woods

Stagecoach Trail – 2.2 miles, paved roads with shoulders.
Follows Old Wausau Road, a historic stagecoach line. Stunning vistas of the Wisconsin River.

Riverfront Trail – 1.3 miles, asphalt paved trail.
Popular trail near historic downtown Stevens Point. Views of the Wisconsin River and waterfowl. Travels through Bukolt and Pfiffner Pioneer Parks.

 

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 13 end

I love race bling.  I have been know to do a race for a cool medal, so I thought we needed a cool medal for this one.   Jack and I made the medals for our race.

 

 

Car Ride with a 3-year old.

blog Nola Mae Nola Mae and I have put on a lot of miles during the last five days, having fun visiting some of my family, even though Jack is having a blast with our boys on the vacation they are on. I have admired the photos Jack is sending me and I have wished I was a long for the trip he his on. I got to visit my Mom for two days,  biked with my mom, I had a short visit with my mother-in-law, lunch with my aunt and 24+ hours with my cousin and her three girls, including a little dye party and mulberry tree shaking with them.

 blog bike ride Henry  blog bike ride Nola Mae

Today, I ended my travels with the car ride from HELL. It was time to leave our cousins. Nola Mae referred to them as “my sisters”, so cute. I put a crabby, tired and almost crying three-year old in the car. She was sad to leave, so sad she was sobbing when the oldest cousin told her it was time to go. She didn’t want to give hugs or wave good-bye.

My fingers were crossed and I was hopeful that she would be sleeping within 10 minutes and I could enjoy my audio book for our 2.5 hour car ride. Within five minutes she was crying and screaming about everything.

Nola Mae: My eyes hurt!

Me: Wear my sunglasses.

Nola Mae: They still hurt! (sobbing)

Me: Close your eyes and rest.

Nola Mae: NOOOOO! Then me will miss seeing a train if we go past one.

I told her I didn’t think there was a train until we got closer to home. She insisted that she saw a train track by a bridge on the way to our cousins’ house.

Crying and screaming at me every time I tried to start my audio book – “NO MUSIC! NO STORIES!”

At the Madison exit…

Nola Mae: That looks like Aunt Danna’s house (she meant work because the buildings look a little like the university, but I wasn’t going to correct her).

Me: Yes, this is Aunt Danna’s town.

Nola Mae: I KNOW! I SAID HERS NAME!

More crying and screaming.

She broke my sunglasses (2nd pair this summer). I told her I was sad about that. I can’t remember what she said, but she sounded more like our 11-year-old, “They weren’t broken. They were twisted apart.” I wasn’t going to argue with her. I just told her that she could try to fix them for me when we got home.

Thirty minutes from home with non-stop screaming and crying up to this point, I remembered I had Smarties in my bag. It was a great distraction and turned her mood around.

Nola Mae fell asleep exactly five miles from home. I at least got five minutes of peace.

I came home to find this blog post from our cousin: http://behindthewillows.com/2015/07/22/the-sign-of-a-great-visit/

October 2014

October 2014

I started out this month posting about Henry’s Pumpkin, click here to see that post.

Henry's pumpkin

Henry’s teacher had this note attached to a new pumpkin for him to take home two days later…

Letter Mrs Fechter

Robbie turned 11 years old this month.  I decided to do a birthday post for him this year because I haven’t been mentioning him very often in my blog.  Robbie’s Birthday

We don’t give many gifts or big gifts or have a huge party.   During the last year I have been not planning parties where we have many friends over.  Since our family grew to four kids, birthdays needed to be simplified.  Our family celebrates birthdays in a very simple way…we do special things – you pick your favorite dinner meal and dessert, you invite a friend to do something fun with us around your birthday time and we do something fun as a family.

I dyed a sheet for Robbie this summer with the intentions of having it made into a quilt.  Robbie helped me pick out the colors of the rainbow to use.   I loved that idea!  He doesn’t know that he is my “rainbow baby”.    I hired to have it machine quilted  and it was finished just a few days before his birthday.

dye swirl rainbow quilt finished

 I started this quilt in February after learning that my cousin would be having her “rainbow baby” in September.  I finished it the last week of October and gave it to her on October 31st!

quilt rainbow

 

quilt rainbow baby

 

Homecoming week at Iola means the school has an Orange and Black day.   I dyed their bandanas for this occasion and I expect they will get a lot of use out of them.

Dye bandanas orange and black

My sister Emily had her liver transplant in September.  I posted two posts around the time of her transplant.  A Prayer for Emily and A Sister’s Emotions.   She came home in October.  I have saved these before pictures to share an after picture at the same time.

This is the week she was in the hospital before her transplant.  She was very jaundice, I believe her bilirubin levels hit and all time high of 40 the week this picture was taken.

Emily Jaundice w John

I went to visit her and was pleased to see a smile on her face and she her in good spirits.  What else can you do when the doctor says, “You are not going home until you have a transplant.”  When I sat down next to her bed with the hospital window at my back I was shocked to see how yellow the whites of her eyes were and her skin color compared to John’s was also shocking.

Four days before her liver transplant:

Emily jaundice2

Emily jaundice 1

Almost three weeks after her transplant:

Emily not jaundice eyes

Emily not jaundice

Emily is home, recovering and getting stronger every day.  She told me she has lost a lot of weight since her transplant and looks very healthy.

Drinks!  I have a few favorite drinks.  I love coffee the most.  All kinds of coffee!  I also love beer, but don’t get to drink that very often.   Jack’s mom went to Finland, over a year ago (?), and brought a pair of Kuksa (Finnish drinking cups) for us.  We finally sat down next to each other on the couch and broke in our cups drinking Four Roses Single Barrel.

Kuksa cup breaking it in

 

 I also have to share a new find for me – a local coffee roaster is here in my area.  I had no idea!  Here is the link to the article where I learned of them, “Ruby Coffee Roasters sees business perk up”. 

ruby coffee

 Kuksa cup espresso

I also like to make and drink smoothies.  My best friend in college, Bethany, first introduced me to smoothies.  One day I made the mistake of prepping the blender with the smoothie ingredients and not blending it until after the boys got home.  When Robbie saw the blender before the blending happened he scrunched up his nose and said, “what is that going to be?”.  He didn’t drink my smoothie that day.

If he only knew that every day the before blending looks the same, he probably wouldn’t drink my smoothies.

 smoothie before             smoothie

Charlie has begged me for jobs that he could get paid for around the house.  It was hard to come up with something since everyone does jobs around here for no pay, like emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dogs, taking care of chickens, sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning up rooms, making firewood, stacking and bringing in firewood.  I only fold clothes when they come off the clothes line, if they come out of the dryer they get separated into each person’s own laundry basket.  That is as good as it gets around here and sometimes I wonder why we have dressers.  I decided folding laundry was a job I would pay to have done for the sake of it getting done and Charlie earning money.  Nola Mae isn’t very helpful when it comes to folding clothes.

Laundry charlie & Nola Mae

 Nola Mae loves to be measured, we’ll see if all our body measuring pays off when we go in for her well-child appointment this week and if she lets the nurse measure her.  When ever she finds one of my tape measures I measure her head circumference, arms, feet, toes, legs, nose, and ears.  It is a fun little game for us.   After her bath she stood there for a long time so Henry could count every inch.

Measuring Nola Mae

 I have worked really hard to exercise 5-6 days a week.  Doesn’t always happen that many times in a week, but is my goal!   I had recently organized our basement and got my Nordic Track out in the open for when there was a day I had time to get on it and do it.

One day it was windy and too yucky to run outside and I was too lazy to drive to the ski hill to hike on the trails.   I was wishing it was winter because skiing on a day like that would have been fine.  So I climbed on the Nordic Track and skied for an hour.  I had a great workout and imagined I was skiing.  I thought it was funny that our box of ski boots just happened to be right there in my face.  I couldn’t decide if that made it helpful to imagine skiing or painful because I wasn’t skiing on real snow.

nordic track

 Our school had a day off on a Friday this month.  I figured going to the skate board park in Waupaca would be a good idea because we would have the park all to ourselves.

 Charlie had fun riding his bike.swan park 3

 And everyone had fun sliding.

Swan park 2

 Nola Mae ran all over the place and tired herself out!

Swan Park 1

 Swan Park also has a very nice hiking trail.  We went on the trail through the woods and Nola Mae got a little nap.

swan park hike

 Robbie was in charge of the camera.

swan park Robbie selfie

Instead of trick or treating I bought each boy a bag of their favorite candy and we stayed home.  We had a good time in the woods making improvements to their forts.

Fort in woods

 And they had a fun game of 500.

500 Robbie & Charlie 1

 

500 Robbie & Charlie 2

 

 A few babywearing photos:

 I slingafied the other half of my friend’s woven wrap Winter Lilies.

ring sling didymos winter lillies

 

 I made these linen wraps for my cousin a matching one for her daughter.  (Rucksack Carry with Tibetan Tie)

wrap linen blue Cathy

 

 I took the boys and Jack to the ski hill to show them the new trail and Jack took this cool picture of Nola Mae waiting to be wrapped.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry

 And this one when we were done wrapping.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry tada

 Double Hammock  Carry with my Ellevill Norwegian Jack wool woven wrap.

wrap ellevill Jack action

 

 Wool wraps are tricky to wash.  I wanted to wash it to soften it up a little more, and it worked!  I had to take a photo of how pretty it looked on the drying rack.  It is a beautiful wrap!

wrap ellevill Jack drying

Swan Park nap in my woven wrap Ellevill  Zara Velvet.

swan park nap

 

 

I was hoping to share my dyeing projects from September and October before this post, maybe that will be next?

For now you can see some of my dyed items in my etsy store:   https://www.etsy.com/shop/skiingmama

 

 

September 2014

September 2014

First day of school photo:

First day of school 2014

On the first day of school, Nola Mae and I took a bike ride to town to run errands.  I needed to do lots of things this day, grocery shopping, library, bank, post office, drop something off at school and most importantly get exercise and get away from the house so I wasn’t thinking about missing my boys.  Our way home was a lot of work for me…27 pound child, 15 pound bike trailer, 75 pounds of groceries and library books.

Bike errands

I have planned to dye my hair a non-traditional color (purple) for many months.  I finally got around to doing it and it faded to pink (not one of my favorite colors).  In the last month I have considered chopping my hair just twice to get rid of it.  When my mom first saw me after I dyed my hair, she joked with me that my fabric dyes got in my hair.   Now, I am feeling like I will keep it for a while.  Next, I will attempt purple and maybe more colors.

 hair dye pink

Jack has made many cigar box guitars in the last year.  This month Charlie finished a two string cigar box guitar.

 cigarbox guitar in progress

Jack made a video of Charlie and shared it on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202628856665701&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

cigarbox guitar Charlie's

I have an amazing husband, he deserves a blog post all to himself.   He is talented in many areas, he is intelligent, he is teaching our kids many skills, he creates beautiful wooden furniture and boxes.

I was a little skeptical about these ugly pieces of wood when he loaded these into our car.

wooden burrow

One day he handed this beautiful bowl to me and told me he made it from the wooden burrows that we brought home.

wooden burrow bowl

Charlie turned a bowl with Jack.  He took his unfinished bowl to school to show his teacher.  Charlie was eager to finish it and then took it back to school.  One day I was looking for Charlie’s bowl to take a photo.  He told me he gave it to his teacher.

We got together with all the Vater cousins this month, unfortunately because Grandpa Neil passed away.  It was wonderful to see our kids having a blast with their cousins, and visit with the cousins we don’t see very much.  Nola Mae and I missed out on the last family gathering because she was sick.   I am not interested in doing the math on when I last saw Jack’s cousins from CA, it was sometime when Ben was still a little boy.  When Ben opened his mouth I just about died, because he had a man’s voice, not a little boy anymore!  Ben is the tallest man in the Vater family.

vater cousins and family

I have many sisters, four of them, all of them are amazing in their own way!  Early this month, Becca completed her first Ironman in Madison,  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.

I wasn’t able to make it to Madison to cheer her on.  I was able to watch her finish from the comforts of my home, 130+ miles away on my computer through the live-feed video on Ironman’s website.

I have my very own finish line photo of her.

IronMan Madison Becca

 Nola Mae loves to put clothes on, take them off, and put extra layers of clothing.  While I was taking a shower  Nola Mae climbed   on the counter and was putting socks on and taking them off.  I took this picture with the intention of doing a blog post with all the photos I have collected of her in her many outfits.

Nola Mae socks happy

Everything was going great.  You can see all the socks on the floor that she had on and took off.  Then she got stuck in these blue socks, that is when things started to get UGLY!  Exactly, one minute later…

Nola Mae socks sad  Nola Mae socks sadder

Two days later…there was an outfit that included many layers and many tears – three shirts, one dress and one pair of tights – she wanted more clothes on and I wouldn’t help her.

Nola Mae flopping

The above photos aren’t so pretty ones of Nola Mae, but this one is!

Nola Mae

When you co-sleep and put your child to bed before yourself they claim their spot.

Yours spot

I knew Henry was outside on the deck.  I heard sounds of a trombone.  I was afraid he snuck Robbie’s  trombone upstairs and outside.  I was relieved, happy and very excited to see him making music with the vacuum cleaner hose, rather than the $754 trombone!

Henry hose trombone

Four days before my birthday a wonderful gift arrived at our house – a spiral ham and caramel popcorn!  I was delighted, ham is one of our favorite things.  Especially, mine because one ham goes a long way here.  If I am remembering correctly this ham gave us  at least four meals, fillings for additional meals, made awesome snacks and were added to cold lunches for boys.  The very last of this ham will be eaten sometime this fall when I make my favorite soup!

bday ham

On September 11th, Nola Mae and I drove to Milwaukee to see my sister, Emily.  Earlier in the week she was admitted to the hospital for liver failure and the talk was “she isn’t going home until she gets a new liver”.  Her MELD Score was so high, she was on the top of the liver transplant list for the Midwest.  As the week progressed and she got more fluids and antibiotics she was feeling and looking better.  I was thankful to see her in better spirits and health later in the week so that when and if a new liver came to her she would be strong enough to make it through a transplant.

Emily hospital 9-11

On Monday, September 15th, around 4:30 AM Emily was told that there is an organ donor who is a perfect match for her.   I am pretty sure this was the longest day in her entire life.  It sure was for me!   The staff took her to surgery for the liver transplant at 5:30 PM.  If I am remembering correctly, I got the call at 12:21 AM, on the 16th, telling me that her surgery was done and she will be heading to ICU.

Click here to read my thoughts on the day of Emily’s transplant, “A Sister’s Emotions”.

I spent the day before my birthday glued to my computer and close to the phone waiting for any news on Emily’s transplant.  I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up for my birthday in a zombie-like state.  I knew Emily was sedated, well cared for in ICU and I needed to get the heck out of my house!  IT was MY birthday and I wanted my special coffee and I wanted to use my 60% & 50% off coupons at JoAnn Fabrics!  So Nola Mae and I went to town!

I made a trip to my favorite thrift store and found a bunch of dye blanks!

  I bought these fabrics.  The birds and butterflies were on the $4/yard rack.  The bottom white fabrics I bought for making dyed scarves.

bday fabric

A close up of one of the white fabrics.

dye blank for scarf

I made two scarves from this fabric – one for my step-mom and one to sell or give away as a gift (or maybe keep for myself).

Dyed Scarf Rainbow colors

My last stop in town was Starbucks, thanks to my sister Danna and her boyfriend, I purchased a yummy coffee and this beautiful coffee mug.

bday coffee cup

The boys (& Jack) gave me a package of socks, these awesome rubber boots and something else.  I can’t remember what the third thing was.   I love my new boots and wear them every day!

bday boots

Usually my garlic gets planted in October.  The planting window for garlic in Wisconsin is mid-September to November.  I remember this because my birthday is the beginning of this planting window and my brother’s birthday, which is at the end of October, is my absolute last day for planting garlic.   This fall, I started planting my garlic before my birthday and then finished planting 200+ cloves of garlic the day after my birthday.

garlic planting 2014

We are were still picking raspberries into October.

Raspberries 8-31-12

 Every year I find a pair of Walking Sticks in my raspberry patch.  They are always attached to each other every time I see them.  This time I happened to have the camera with me and when I bumped them, they came apart and I took this photo.

walking stick

I have accumulated many dye blanks, I am always looking for more.  Recently, I  had some time to organize and prioritize my dyeing projects

dye thirft store blanks

I also had some time to set up a little dyeing space in my basement and got busy.  In one week I dyed 20 pieces.

dye table

We paddled up the river from Big Falls when the leaves were beautiful.  It was a great way to end the month.

paddle car fall 2014

paddle big falls 2014  paddle rocking 2014

I am making and selling soap again this year.  I started early for Christmas by making four batches.

“Cleansing Calendula”, with essential oils: Lavender & Tea Tree and ground Calendula flowers for a great exfoliation.    Aroma:  Soft, floral.  Benefits:  Renewing, cleansing, stimulating.

soap calendula flowers & lavender & tea tree  

“Cinnamon Swirl”  with essential oils:  Orange & Cinnamon and ground cinnamon, which gives it the dark color.   Aroma:  Warm, spicy   Benefits:  Warming, comforting, energizing

 soap cinn & organe

(these are the same soap, just different batch and different method of coloring with the ground cinnamon)

“Jumping Juniper”  essential oils:  Juniper, Lavender & Rosemary   Aroma: Floral   Benefits: Restoring, empowering, balancing, purifying, &  uplifting.

  soap juniper, lavender & rosemary

I have about twelve pounds of garlic to sell.

garlic for sale 2014

It was a good birthday month for me!

May 2014

May 2014

No matter where her owie is the band-aid goes on her face.

Nola Mae Band aids

 

In 4th grade the kids put on a “manufacturing day”.  They manufacture items to sell to the rest of the elementary school.  Robbie recycled crayons into Lego shaped guys and into flowers and stars and made stuffed monster faces.

Manufacturing day Lot

 

Manufacturing day Monsters

Manufacturing day table

We planned a last-minute picnic lunch with our moms for Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day photo 1

My mom stayed for the whole day, so we went for a bike ride with my mom, Robbie, with Henry on the tag-along and Nola Mae in the Burley.

Mother's Day photo

Robbie’s class had a field trip to Madison.  We rode a hot steamy bus together for a total of 5 hours, I quilted for 4.5 of those hours while visiting with him and got a little cuddle time after a long day.

Madison bus w Robbie

 We toured the capital.

Madison Capitol

 

We went to the Wisconsin Historical Museum  – a beautiful place!   I was impressed by how much Robbie had learned in school before this trip.  When we toured the Capitol the kids already knew a lot about the history of our state and about what happens in the Capital.   I first realized this when we were at the museum, Robbie and I walked into a section about Aztalan.  As soon as he saw this area he said, “Oh!  Aztalan, I know all this!”   I pointed out that we need to appreciate this stuff and we needed to walk around and look at all the cool tools in person, not just in books!

While I was on the field trip, Jack stayed home with Henry and Nola Mae.   He took these photos:

Madison H & NM

 Jack finished planting 175 trees this month with Henry’s help.

Jack's day planting trees

 They worked on firewood and made a big pile in the woods.  Henry told me the pile took a lot of work because it is taller than him.

Jack's day firewood

Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

Piano Henry & Nola Mae

Robbie and I met Jack and the kids at piano lessons.  During Robbie’s lesson we walked around town.  I was there when Jack took this photo of Charlie.

Iola Charlie bench

When I was looking at photos from this day I knew this is one I wanted to include in my blog and save in my memory forever!  Because he is looking directly at me, giving me a look I don’t see very often: “love”.  He is the boy that seems to dislike me the most.   I wasn’t talking about candy, minecraft, ice cream, or legos.  We were just looking at each other.  I was thankful for Jack being there because I could hear him taking pictures of something during this look between me and Charlie and I was hoping it was of Charlie.

Iola Little Shivers

 

 We had a rummage sale during our town’s city-wide rummage.  It was a one day sale for us, with constant people coming from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm.  I thought it was worth it and very successful.  But there was still a lot of stuff left.   I was able to invite a few friends over to take one last peek.  Then I loaded it all up and took a full car load to St. Vinnie’s in Plover.

St Vinnie load 1

St Vinnie load 2

St Vinnie load 3

This small load went to friends who couldn’t come check out my stuff but had a “wish list”.

St Vinnie load Friends

We were talking about going on a bike trip and Nola Mae found all our bright-colored biking vest and put them on and told me she was ready.

bike Tomorrow river trail getting ready

 Jack took many pictures and even put together an awesome video from our bike trip on the Tomorrow River Bike trail from Amherst to Scandinavia.

bike Tomorrow river trail

 My mother-in-law would say, “there is some kind of learning going on here.”  These were very old and stale taco shells I found in the cupboard.  I had them on the counter and Nola Mae brought the stool to the counter, pulled out the potato masher and just started mashing them.  It kept her busy while I did my stuff and the mess wasn’t too bad.

Nola Mae potato smasher

 She asked for this “hair band aid”, honestly, it wasn’t my idea!

Nola Mae 1st ponie tail

 Henry and Nola Mae were in the yard getting blankets and books ready for reading in the shade.  Henry came into the house and asked me if he could take the camera outside to take a picture of Nola Mae being cute.  This is one of his photos.

Nola Mae

 My car was in the repair shop last week.  The day it was ready to come home Jack drove the truck to his friend’s house and got a ride the rest of the way to work.   Henry and I biked 10 miles to their house to pick up the truck.  If I was thinking ahead I would have put Nola Mae’s car seat in the truck, instead we had to pack it in the Burley.  Henry talked the entire way,  peddled hard up and down the hills, especially when a scary dog came after us.

Bike to Big Falls Gene's

 

Bike to Big Falls Picnic

 

 We couldn’t pass Big Falls without checking out the water and

Bike to Big Falls Water H

 getting our feet wet.

Bike to Big Falls Water NM

We had a little extra time before the boys got home from school to drive to the neighboring sawmill for some bark mulch – $40 for a truck load.  I think I could have gotten a better deal if I planned a head and went when the guy I know was working.

Wood chips

 Nola Mae and I took  a short trip to Milwaukee for my cousin’s baby shower.  I made her this ring sling this winter, dyed it with snow, Flamingo Pink and Sunflower Yellow (Dylon Dye).

snow dye ring sling pink & yellow snow dyed pink & yellow ring sling in action

Nola Mae and I had a wonderful visit with my Dad and Step-mom, Lynn.

Dad's swing

Dad's Marbles

 We went for a walk and Nola Mae found a dead bird.  Against my Dad’s suggestion she still picked it up and looked at it.

Dad's dead bird Nola Mae

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae2

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae

The boys will be done with school on June 12th.  I am pretty excited about the things we will do this summer.  I have plans for everyone to make a “wish list” of the goals they have, the things they want to do, and where they want to go.

 

July 2013 – Month 7

July 2013 – Month 7

My Uncle Carl from California came to visit this month.  He was able to spend an afternoon/evening at our house.  Nola Mae warmed up to him very quickly.

uncle carl & Nola Mae

Our family went to Big Falls to play in the rapids on a really hot day.  It was the busiest I have ever seen the place.  There were about 30 other people there, usually we are the only ones.  There is a zip-line there where most of the people were.  I would love for the boys to try it some day.

big falls four kids

Just so you know, when Jack went down these rapids his butt dragged the whole time.

big falls Charlie

Nola Mae enjoyed the refreshing feel of the water.

big falls Nola Mae

Good things come in threes:

1)  Jack installed my new clothes line.

clothes line on silo

2)  Jack built a gate for us (my request).  For some reason our road is a toddler magnet.  Every one of our kids loved sprinting to the road.  Maybe it is the thrill of Mama or Papa chasing after them.

Gate for Nola Mae

We have had the W-9 since our first year living here.  It was a tractor of Jack’s dad’s.  We used it to break ground for our veggie garden and that is about it.  It is a big tractor.

Tractor W-9 & kids

We also owned a Farmall H that was useful to us for moving firewood and cleaning the barn.  We decided to sell them both.  It was sad for me to see them go.

Tractor W-9 & H loaded up

3)  I have been trying to convince Jack for at least the last five years to buy me a skid steer.

skid steer

I found some hay!  I am thinking this will be the last winter I buy hay for my horse.  She may need to die or find a new home.  I have fond memories of all the sweat and dust of baling hay on my Step-Dad’s farm.  I had a fun time with Robbie and Charlie going to get this hay.  I pulled them away from the computer to help me one evening.  We drove to the field where the hay was baled and loaded up two loads of 25 bales each.   And then they helped unload it.  In the truck on the way to get our second load Charlie said, “This is fun!”

bales boys unloading

Henry helped unload the second load in the morning.  And helped with stacking it in the basement of the barn.

 bales Henry

My friends and I ordered a total of 170 pounds of blueberries from Country Corner Sales for $2.05/lb.  Last year I paid $2.53/lb.   Not very often can you say, “The price went down this year!”   The pick-you-own blueberry farm is charging $2.50/lb ($0.25 more than what they charged last year).

Blueberry boxes 2013

Nola Mae thought she had her own box.

Blueberry Nola Mae 2013

I harvested my garlic this month and wrote about our garden.

garlic harvest 2013

I boiled eggs one day and went outside before they were ready to be taken off the heat.  I got this exploded egg.  It looks like a chicken head to me.  What do you see?

egg boiled oozing

Charlie has been wanting to bike to town (a round trip is 10 miles) all summer.  We have only done a 4.5 mile loop in our neighborhood a few times.  With complaints and many water stops most of the way.   On this day I added a 2 mile loop, totaling 6.5 miles, to test them out for a trip to town.  I hooked up the train for a bike ride.  Henry on the tag-along attached to my bike and Nola Mae in the Burley attached to the tag-along.  Robbie couldn’t find his shoes so he biked in socks.  Charlie was just plain crabby about the whole idea.

bike train

The 6.5 miles wasn’t that bad after we were done.

A few days later, we went to town on our bikes.  Charlie was pumped.  Robbie was tired before we started.  They raced almost the whole way and I had a hard time keeping up with them.  It took us 36 minutes to go the 5 miles.

bike to town picnic

We had a picnic at the park, then dropped off some of my healing balm at a friend’s house and at the pharmacy.  The pharmacist is testing it to see if they want to stock it on their shelves.   We went to the library for some books on CD for our trip to Milwaukee and then to the ice cream shop.

bike to town ice cream shop

On the way home Charlie was so tired I considered dropping his bike off at my friend’s house (3 miles from our house), putting Henry in the trailer with Nola Mae and having Charlie ride on the tag-along.   Nola Mae was sleeping and Charlie seemed better after more water.  When we were two miles from home Charlie figured out a way to hold onto the bike trailer/stroller’s handle bars with one hand and his handle bars with the other.  He peddled while holding on and there were times I could feel him pushing me and other times when I was pulling him.  He said he would let go when a car was coming and while going up and down the hills.  I could have sworn he was holding on when we were climbing that last hill to our house and I looked back and he wasn’t.   Henry is a good peddler on the tag-along.  It took us 48 minutes to get home.

Often I find Nola Mae walking around with a pen ( or whatever writing utensil she can find) and paper.  Maybe she will be a writer.  She sat with Java for a long time as if she was interviewing her.

Nola Mae & Java

My friend, Lynn, gave me this cute dress for Nola Mae.  I have been wanting to take a cute picture of her in the dress for Lynn.  Nola Mae has been getting the dress dirty before I could get a photo taken.  This is an example of how quick I can be with the camera.  I was in the kitchen, my camera is usually there, I turned around and saw Nola Mae doing this…

Nola Mae on chair

I was admiring how well Nola Mae was playing with this car,

Nola Mae drives tractor

and the next thing she did was take a drink out of this little puddle on the deck.

Nola Mae thirsty

Nola Mae comes out the chicken coop with me often, she is usually on my back, this time she was walking with me.  I feed them and then collect the eggs, so I am not tripping over them or getting pecked when I am stealing eggs.  Nola Mae decided to eat with the chickens.

Nola Mae eating w chickens

Henry is teaching her how to climb ladders.

Nola Mae ladder

I have a friend who got married the same weekend as the Liver Walk.  Earlier this year she asked me if I was interested in making her wedding cake.   I seriously considered it.  I knew she was having a small wedding and she would be the kind of bride I could work with.  My only concern was having the time to make the cake.   During the week of her wedding I was sad to not be making her wedding cake.  I started making a triple layered 9 inch round cake for my nephew’s graduation party.  I needed Nola Mae to be busy for a little while so I could mix the cake by letting her play with the water on a chair AT the sink.  NOT in the sink!

  Nola Mae in sink

Henry was doing a great job reading to Nola Mae.  I was impressed with how well he knew the right sounds and words to Mr. Brown can MOO, can you?

Henry reading

Nola Mae wanted to hold the book and Henry didn’t like that idea.  They both were happier once Nola Mae had her own book to hold.

Henry reading 2

Jack made this beautiful box for Nola Mae.

box Nola Mae

We went to the Liver Walk and had a graduation party for my nephew afterwards. 

Liver walk 2013

I made snake bubbles and they were a hit with all the little kids and even the big kids. 

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles K

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Ali

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Kayla & Ali

How to make snake bubbles: 

  • Cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle (soda or water bottle).
  • Cut an old sock just before the heel, so you are using the toe and foot part of the sock to cover the bottom of your bottle.
  • Secure the sock on the bottle with a rubber band.  Since I was traveling and making these a head of time, I also put duct tape over the rubber band.
  • Soap mixture was 1 parts Dawn dish soap and 2 parts water.
  • Dip the bottom of the bottle in the soap mixture and blow.

Note:  Smaller kids may suck in while blowing and swallow or breath in bubbles.  Henry will tell you that is YUCKY!

For colored snake bubbles click here.

Since the skid steer has arrived a lot of projects have been getting done around our yard.

Rock wall 1

Rock Wall 2

Rock wall Nola Mae

skid steer Nola Mae

I have gotten braver with my soaps.  I purchased more essential oils this spring and made this soap in early June.  It turned out beautiful, this has cinnamon and orange essential oils with ground cinnamon.  If you like cinnamon smelling things you would love this!

soap cinnamon orange

Sewing projects this month:

Tooth pillows for a sister and brother.

tooth pillow maddie  tooth pillow alek

A TNT pillow case inspired by Minecraft for one of Robbie’s friends.

pillow case TNT Landon

I made a Mei Tai for a friend’s sister.

Mei Tai kid size

Three beautiful ring slings.

ring sling brown w green steph  ring sling green w br steph  ring sling plum Pam

I bought this fabric at a rummage sale.  It is the perfect weave for a wrap.  I serged the edges and used it for weeks until I finally hemmed it.

Wrap DIY shorty Ruck Under Bum (RUB)  wrap DIY woven naptime

It is shorter than my other wraps and there is only enough room for me to do a Rucksack carry tied under the bum (A.K.A. RUB).  I have learned that I love it for very fast ups and downs and escaping out from the fabric when laying down Nola Mae.

Wrap DIY shorty I escaped

I have another picture of her sweetness in my light rainbow wrap.

wrap light rainbow naptime

I am in a babywearing group on facebook.  Each week they do a “carry of the week”.   A great way to learn a new carry or in this case a new tie off.  This is a double hammock carry with a salt water tie with my Zara Velvet wrap.

Wrap Zara Velevet Salt Water double hammock

My favorite pictures of the month:

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie woods

Robbie fancy moves

Nola Mae wheel

Nola Mae fence

Week 43 – October 22 – 28, 2012

Week 43 – October 22 – 28, 2012

(Completed on 12-17-12)

Biking in PJs.  When you are ready to go and the timing is just right, just get on your bike and GO!

Biking Henry in PJs

And since you are outside you better do the chicken chores.

Wrap chicken chores

Helen captured this big squeeze and kiss.  Nola Mae has gotten use to Henry’s loving, most of the time he gives her sweet little kisses on her head as he is walking by (even harder to get those kissing on the camera).

Henry big kiss

Charlie’s Jedi robe in progress.

Jedi robe Charlie

Nola Mae’s new mobility has gotten her “stuck” in a few places.  If I am remembering this is the week where I “lost” her in the house for the first time.  I went to the bathroom and when I came out she wasn’t anywhere close to where she was when I went in.  That was a little scary, I thought maybe Henry took her somewhere, but realized that she is indeed getting around the house by herself at record speeds for an almost seven month old!

Nola Mae crawling

Piano lessons from Robbie.

Piano Henry & Robbie

Robbie Cards

Nola Mae’s last nap in this rocking chair.

Nola Mae Napping

I took this cute photo of her in her ruffle diaper.  I think Henry thought I was taking a picture of her chewing on this toy ring,

Nola Mae diaper ruffles

because he found his own ring to play with.

Henry silly

Robbie’s new kind of airplane.

paper airplane Robbie

Henry helps me make bread crumbs.  When all of the boys turned three years old the “I hate crust” switch turned on.  Charlie takes a sandwich every day to school.  I cut the crust off, because if you let a kid take it off half the sandwich is wasted.  I feed the curst to the chickens or save it and then dry them out for bread crumbs.

jobs Henry bread crumbs

Jack came home on the 22nd and went right to work on the kayak.

Kayak clamps

We have a “nest” in our room and lately all three boys have been sleeping in our room.  This night I nursed Nola Mae to sleep and Robbie was still awake.  I was able to put her next to him while I took a shower.  When I was done with my shower they were all sleeping.

Nest sleeping kids

A birthday gift for one of Robbie’s friends.  I think I have made a pillowcase for all of his friends.  Now what do I make for gifts next year?  What homemade thing will 10-year-old boys like?

pillow case Brock

The boys had a day off from school.  I took them to the ski hill to see the new trail and to pick up sticks and rocks.

ski hill new trail

Robbie wanted a hood on his Jedi robe.  I didn’t have time to put one on Henry’s.  Charlie didn’t want to be a Jedi, instead he was a wizard with the mask Grandma Helen made last Christmas for the “mask” gift exchange.

Halloween customes 2012

Week 39 – September 24 – 30, 2012

     Week 39 – September 24 – 30, 2012

(completed on 12-11-12)

I was inspired to encourage Henry to bike more after seeing how well Kale (my nephew) rides his bike.  I remember Charlie was riding without training wheels by this age.   All summer Henry was content running along while the older boys biked, “because I am a fast runner!”

Henry biking home

Henry biking

One of the reasons I was drawn to purchase a rainbow wrap is because I love rainbows (plus I got an awesome deal on this size 7 wrap).  I recently learned the term “rainbow baby.”  Then I decided I needed a photo of my “rainbow baby” (Robbie) wearing my last baby who I have waited a long time to have.  I love all four of my babies equally.  They each have a special place in my heart.  Robbie is the baby that healed my sadness and fulfilled my dream of becoming a mother.  And Nola Mae is the daughter I have always dreamed of having.

light rainbow wrap w Robbie

Nola Mae slept in this baby rocking chair for some of her naps and sometimes when I just needed to put her down.  And yes, I didn’t always put the straps on her.  Because most of the time I was putting her in there for a few minutes and I was right there.  At 5 months old she started to scoot out of it.

And once she would be in this position she would just hang out there.  She would smile at me and jabber away.

Nola Mae rocker 5

Nola Mae rocker 1

Nola Mae rocker 2

Then Henry would come along and “rescue” her,

Nola Mae rocker 3

and bring her to me.

Nola Mae rocker 4

The next stage of the kayak.

kayak top & bottom glass